University of St. Thomas announces commencement speakers for May 12 and 19 ceremonies

University of St. Thomas announces commencement speakers for May 12 and 19 ceremonies

Speakers have been announced for University of St. Thomas commencement celebrations next month:

School of Law: Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice Paul Anderson will address School of Law graduates. Commencement ceremonies begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 12, in the Schulze Grand Atrium of the School of Law, located on Harmon Place between 11th and 12th streets in downtown Minneapolis. A reception follows for more than 140 graduates – the law school’s largest graduating class to date – and their guests.

About the speaker: Anderson, who has served in his present role since 1994, was chief judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals from 1992 to 1994. A 1965 graduate of Macalester College, he earned his law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1968, then went to work as a Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) attorney for a year and served as a neighborhood attorney for New Haven Legal Assistance in Connecticut. He was special assistant attorney general in the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General in 1970-71, and then began a 21-year practice with the LeVander, Gillen and Miller Law Offices in South St. Paul.

Commencement Mass will be held for all St. Thomas graduates, their families and guests at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 18, at the Cathedral of St. Paul, 239 Selby Ave., St. Paul. Father Dennis Dease, president of St. Thomas, will be the presider, and the university’s internationally known Liturgical Choir will sing.

Graduate exercises: George Buckley, chairman, president and chief executive officer of 3M, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree and deliver the commencement address at ceremonies honoring nearly 400 recipients of graduate degrees awarded by St. Thomas’ Graduate School of Professional Psychology, School of Divinity, School of Education, College of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering, and the joint School of Social Work of St. Thomas and the College of St. Catherine.

St. Thomas’ graduate commencement ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 19, in Schoenecker Arena on the St. Thomas campus in St. Paul. A reception follows.

About the speaker: Prior to joining 3M in 2005, Buckley was chairman and chief executive officer of Brunswick Corp., the Lake Forest, Ill.-based manufacturer and marketer of pleasure boats, marine engines and other recreational products. He also is a former executive of St. Louis-based Emerson Electric Co. and a former managing director of the Central Services Division of the British Railways Board. He serves on the boards of Black and Decker, the Towson, Md.-based manufacturer and marketer of tools, hardware and home-improvement products, and Thule AB, the Swedish manufacturer of automobile rooftop boxes, roof rails and bike carriers. Buckley studied at the Universities of Southampton and Huddersfield in England, where he earned a Ph.D. in engineering. He also had a B.Sc. degree in electrical and electronic engineering from the University of Huddersfield, from which he also received an honorary D.Sc. degree in engineering.

Baccalaureate exercises: Kojo Benjamin Taylor, one of the founders of MicroClinics in Ghana, Africa, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree and deliver the commencement address at St. Thomas’ baccalaureate ceremonies. The ceremonies begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 19, in O’Shaughnessy Stadium on St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus. A reception follows on the university quadrangle for more than 900 graduates and their guests.

About the speaker: Taylor is co-founder of Taylor and Borde, a Minneapolis-based company that provides interim executives and finance professionals to companies undergoing changes. In 1989 he founded and directed the Pelican Group Inc., a $70 million franchised technology services organization with offices in 15 U.S. cities, before selling the company to a division of IDG Inc. Under his leadership, Pelican was twice recognized on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. Taylor has been honored by MEDA, a Minneapolis economic development organization providing assistance to minority-owned and managed businesses. He has served on the boards of a variety of corporations and nonprofit organizations.

During a 2005 trip that Taylor took to his native Ghana with two American business associates, one of them became ill and needed hospitalization and medication. Taylor became acquainted firsthand with the lack of basic health services and essential drugs in the country, along with the ravages of preventable diseases such as malaria. He provided the seed funds to launch MicroClinics. The concept, currently being deployed in Ghana and Uganda, utilizes franchising business principles to solve public health crises in developing countries.  

Taylor earned a business degree at Turks and Caicos Islands Business College in the West Indies, completed the Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program, and is a candidate for a master of science in community economic development at Southern New Hampshire University.

Opus College of Business graduate ceremonies: St. Thomas alumnus Mary Brainerd, president and CEO of HealthPartners, will address recipients of graduate degrees.

Ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19, in Schoenecker Arena on the St. Paul campus. A reception follows in Murray-Herrick Campus Center for 389 graduates and their guests.

About the speaker: Brainerd, who earned an M.B.A. from St. Thomas in 1979, was named CEO of HealthPartners in March 2002. She has been a leader in health care since 1984. Prior to joining HealthPartners, Brainerd held several management positions with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and taught at Metropolitan State University. She serves on the boards of several organizations including Regions Hospital, Minnesota Council of Health Plans, Metropolitan State University Foundation, Guthrie Theater, Possis Medical Inc., Minnesota Life and the Minnesota Business Partnership. She also is a member of the Minnesota Women's Economic Roundtable and has served as a mentor in the Mentiuum Minnesota 100 mentoring program. She has been named twice (1999 and 2002) to a list of the Twin Cities’ Most Influential Women in Business by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.